2nd Test day 3
St. George’s, April 24: Joe Root hit his sixth century and first overseas as England survived a spirited West Indies display to grab the advantage on the third day of the second Test here.
The right-hander, playing his 24th Test, delighted himself on a flat track at the tiol Cricket Stadium to finish the day 118 not out, steering England to 373/6 at the close. He was joined by fellow rookie Gary Ballance (77), captain Alistair Cook (76), and Jothan Trott (59), reports CMC.
England were cruising at one point at 329/3 in the fil session but the West Indies stuck to their task and clawed their way back, grabbing three wickets for 35 runs to end the day strongly. The vistors lead by 74 runs heading into Friday’s fourth day.
With little help from a lifeless track, fast bowler Shannon Gabriel maged to pick up 2/60 while leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, in his first Test in three years, sent down a marathon 41 overs and finished with 2/124.
Resuming the day on 74/0 in pursuit of West Indies’ 299, England were given a great start by openers Cook and Trott, who stretched their overnight stand to 125 before being separated. Both were ultra-cautious at the start.
Cook was first to his half-century and Trott followed after drinks but fell soon after when he was drawn into a drive by Bishoo and nicked one to Jermaine Blackwood at close-in gully.
Cook had his share of luck when he reached 65 before lunch. He missed one from Bishoo as he pushed forward and had a leg before appeal turned down. West Indies reviewed and Cook escaped rrowly after replays showed the ball pitching in line but clipping the top of the stumps.
With England on 159/1, Gabriel struck two key blows to haul West Indies back into the contest.
Whatever hopes West Indies had of making further inroads were quickly quelled as Root and Ballance combined in a superb 165-run fourth-wicket partnership to win the session for England.
Root gathered his runs busily and has so far counted 13 fours and two sixes while Ballance struck eight fours and a six.
Windies bowlers were guilty of losing the plot somewhat and Root and Ballance cashed in.
Part-time off-spinner Marlon Samuels was recalled for another spell and he struck with his fifth delivery when Ballance inside-edged a booming drive onto his leg stump. Thirteen deliveries later, Moeen Ali (0) was run out without scoring.
And West Indies completed a rewarding session when Ben Stokes (8) gifted his wicket, failing to clear the ropes at mid-wicket and being taken in the deep by Blackwood. IANS